January 29, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 29

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Patenting the Metaverse

The Metaverse is a new frontier of innovation in social and business interaction, and pioneers of this technology are rushing to develop its building blocks and protect their intellectual property (IP) rights. However, patenting this cutting-edge technology is not without challenges.

Driven by the tremendous popularity of social networks and the advances in virtual reality (VR), leading tech companies began developing new revolutionary technology - a computer-generated universe called Metaverse. It is a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds in which people can build virtual homes, run businesses, interact with their friends and families through their avatars, create art, enjoy travel, play games, etc. Although it may be years before such features of the Metaverse become mainstream, the opportunities to shape the future of this technology at an early stage make investing in its development possibly highly lucrative. Many tech companies have begun aggressively developing and patenting technologies to power the Metaverse.

Examples of such patented technologies are systems for optimizing shared views of virtual objects to multiple wearers of VR headsets; algorithms for generating and moving virtual shapes and scenes in a VR environment based on hand gestures, head motion, or line of sight of the user; systems for generating haptic feedback corresponding to users' interaction with virtual objects in a virtual environment; and methods for generating 3D avatars of the users, which emulate users’ appearance and behavior, to name a few.

Prosecuting virtual technology patent applications is challenging due to the strict subject matter eligibility requirements applied to software inventions under 35 USC 101 in view of the US Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank. Nevertheless, patent attorneys consistently meet these subject matter eligibility requirements to successfully obtain patents using a mixture of claim drafting strategies and persuasive arguments developed by closely monitoring changes in the Federal Circuit case law and USPTO examination guidelines. For example, to avoid Section 101 rejections from the onset, patent attorneys should emphasize technical improvements of the technology, incorporate technical steps that can be argued as non-abstract, and ensure that a specification fleshes out a problem-solution combination that can be tied to a practical application.

© 2023 ArentFox Schiff LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 84
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About this Author

Michael Fainberg Intellectual Property Attorney New York ArentFox Schiff
Partner

Michael is a registered patent attorney with a background in computer engineering and wireless telecommunications. His practice focuses on IP counseling and global patent portfolio management for high-tech companies. Michael procured over 1,000 patents worldwide in various technologies, including microelectronics, telecommunications, IT, cybersecurity, blockchain, cryptocurrency...

212-484-3927
Mohammad Zaryab Patent Agent IP Law ArentFox Schiff New York
Patent Agent

Mohammad is a patent agent that has prepared and prosecuted patent applications for clients from a wide range of industries including media guidance, virtual reality, network communications, speech recognition, gaming technology, and artificial intelligence (e.g., deep learning & machine learning). He helps clients identify inventive aspects of potential patents and represents applicants in front of the USPTO such as by responding to office actions and conducting examiner interviews. He additionally has experience in analyzing the validity of patents, preparing claim...

212-457-5527
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